Reflections on leaving Zanzibar

From Andrew: In Kiswahili the word “Safari” means “journey” (it’s also a Tanzanian beer!). The children chose it for the name of the after school English club as the project funds occasional outings.  The idea is to introduce children to other parts of their island and to have a fun day where they learn new activities. Continuing to uphold this tradition, two outings for 100 students (plus helpers) were organised just before we left in mid-May. We’ve been fortunate to build a relationship with ISZ, the International School of Zanzibar, where the facilities are perfect for a school trip.

Students were those from the new Standard 6 intake, none of whom had been on a "Safari" before but they’d heard about it from their friends who have been in Safari English Club for a while. On the Saturday the weather was bright but on the Sunday it rained - not that that impacted the activities or the enjoyment of the students! Almost all spent about 30 minutes in the swimming pool. It was the first time they’d ever seen a pool, very few can swim and so, understandably quite a few were nervous at first. But with the use of floats and "noodles" they happily splashed around and tried to swim. The girls played rounders and used the swings and slides while the boys played football and basketball. Teacher Issa, other local teachers and senior students from the community assisting with crowd control, burkini management and other activities!  Thanks them and the International School for letting us use the facilities and to the volunteer lifeguards who assisted both days. 

Throughout this term I’ve been teaching the Advanced Class with a focus on preparing them to be Tour Guides. These tours are to be offered to guests at the small hotel in the village which is being refurbished.  We hope the tours will give the students "real live" English practice, new skills, as well as some income to the Safari English Club and the students. Two tours are planned: "The Village", which is historically important and "The School".  I’ve been trying to get the students to take and use notes, rather than writing everything they are going to say out in full.  This is a departure from their usual lessons, where they write out what is on the blackboard and a vital skill to learn. To give a focus to the activity we hoped we’d have a visit students from the International School where our students could practice on their counterparts from the International community. Very sadly on each of the 3 occasions that visits were planned they had to be cancelled at short notice as the roads were impassable due to flooding.   Nonetheless the Advanced Class has enjoyed and benefited from this Tour Guide Training and that visits will take place when the rainy season is over giving a chance to build further links with ISZ.    


From Reneé: Teaching English at Safari English Club is one of the highlights of my year, particularly the 6D class! These students are so eager to learn English (and in some cases maths), I found myself wishing I could be their full time teacher! I’m not a teacher and I’m not able to stay on Zanzibar and teach indefinitely as 'life' calls for more amazing experiences and challenges! I had class D once a week and they were the most enthusiastic and eager out of the year group. Their faces light up when the 'penny dropps' and the wonder on those young faces when I gave them exercise books to work with (when learning the different body parts for example) is a memory I'll treasure forever! I know we shouldn’t have favourites, but there’s a boy called Ramahdan who managed to creep into a corner of my heart! His English was 'barely there' and his maths so basic, he couldn't or didn't understand 3+1=? He repeated after me (when I first asked him whist teaching dominos) 3+1+1 instead of 3+1=4....Ramahdan didn't understand the basics of adding and single digits at that! I wrote out by hand pages and pages of sums for him starting with the basics like 0+1=1, 1+1+2, 2+1=3 etc and the times table. I also wrote out counting in odd numbers, even numbers, counting in 5's and 10's. Ramahdan promised me he'd learn from the many pages (I had Sadiq interpret for me)! Do you know that around 3 weeks after giving him these pages, I could ask him random addition sums and he knew the answers! I cried when I asked him 5 sums in a row and he got them all right! His father even came to the school wanting to know about the 'mzungu' (white person) who was teaching his son English and Maths! I have to mention that Ramahdan got one of the highest marks for his English test on body parts out of his class. 

Sharifa is a young lady aged 22 who attends the advanced class when she can. Sharifa recently started her own sewing business. Susie (one of the previous volunteers) left some money for Sharifa to start her business. Sharifa has made dresses for girls and has successfully sold them; she has used the profit from her sales to buy more fabric which she turned into some lovely dresses and those dresses she is hoping to sell during Ramahdan. Business cards have been designed for her with a logo she has chosen. Sharifa knows she needs to find a few outlets where she can sell her dresses on a regular basis. Sharifa would very much like to become a full time seamstress/business woman and I have no doubt she will.